For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Gambler”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Excerpt

“I think that roulette was devised specially for Russians,” I retorted; and when the Frechman smiled contempuously at my reply I further remarked that I was sure I was right; also that, speaking of Russians in the capacity of gamblers, I had far more blame for them than praise – of that he could be quite sure.

“Upon what do you base your opinion?” he inquired.

“Upon the fact that to the virtues and merits of the civilised Westerner there has become historically added – though this is not his chief point – a capacity for acquiring capital; whereas, not only is the Russian incapable of acquiring capital, need money; wherefore, we are glad of, and greatly devoted to, a method of acquisition like roulette – whereby, in a couple of hours, one may grow rich without doing any work. This method, I repeat, has a great attraction for us, but since we play in wanton fashion, and without taking any trouble, we almost invariably lose.”

We read it in The Gambler.

Hunter says, “This 150 page novella is just a short story compared to his novels.”